In a first, UNICEF appoints Syrian refugee Muzoon Almellehan as Goodwill Ambassador

Jun 20, 2017 09:28 IST

United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) on 19 June 2017 announced the appointment of Muzoon Almellehan, a 19-year-old education activist and Syrian refugee, as its newest and youngest Goodwill Ambassador.

The appointment makes Muzoon the first person with official refugee status to become an Ambassador for UNICEF.

In a first, UNICEF appoints Syrian refugee Muzoon Almellehan as Goodwill Ambassador

About Muzoon Almellehan

Muzoon Almellehan fled the conflict in Syria along with her family in 2013.

She lived as a refugee for three years in Jordan before being resettled in the United Kingdom.

It was during her 18 months in the Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan that she began advocating for children’s access to education, particularly for girls.

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About United Nations Children's Fund

The United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund was created by the United Nations General Assembly on 11 December 1946.

It was created to provide emergency food and healthcare to children in countries that had been devastated by World War II.

The Polish physician Ludwik Rajchman is widely regarded as the founder of UNICEF. He also served as its first chairman from 1946.

The organisation relies on contributions from governments and private donors.

UNICEF's programmes emphasize developing community-level services to promote the health and well-being of children.

It was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1965 and the Prince of Asturias Award of Concord in 2006.

Refugee children: Worrying data

Around 50 million children all over the world have been uprooted- 28 million of them driven from their homes by conflicts not of their making, and millions more migrating in the hope of finding a better, safer life.

Refugee children and adolescents are five times more likely to be out of school than their non-refugee peers.

Girls affected by conflict are 2.5 times more likely to be out of school than boys.

Protracted crises present complex challenges. Refugees spend on average 17 years displaced, almost an entire childhood.

Education in emergencies is severely underfunded. Since 2010, less than 2.7 per cent of humanitarian funding has been spent on education. USD 8.5 billion is needed annually to close this gap.

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